Replacing Missing Teeth
How do missing teeth affect my health?
Your teeth affect your whole body. When they’re healthy, you’re healthier too. A missing tooth can affect your bite, speech and eating choices. As you rely more on your remaining teeth, you increase the chance they will wear out prematurely, or be damaged or lost. You may also experience headaches and/or jaw pain.
Who would want their appearance and health to deteriorate? That’s the natural consequence of missing teeth – the jaw literally melts away. Generally, people will lose 50% of their supporting jaw bone structure within the first year after tooth loss. Dental implants are more easily placed when teeth are first extracted because bone replacement becomes more complex as time passes. The great news? Dental implants can act just like your natural teeth. They safeguard and preserve your bone structure, oral health and appearance. Your family dentist and Dr. Culberson will provide you with options so that you can make the most informed decision concerning tooth replacement.
Since 1988, Periodontist James Culberson, DMD, MS, Fredericksburg, VA, has practiced a full scope of periodontal diagnosis and treatment. Even a subtle change in your smile helps you to project an image of self-confidence and high personal esteem. When you feel good about yourself, it shows in your appearance.Fredericksburg Office Appointments Map & Driving Directions
What tooth replacement options are available?
You can select from a number of different options to replace your missing teeth – from temporary to long-lasting solutions.
A good candidate is anyone missing one or more teeth, or who is unhappy with their existing replacements. However, some factors, such as smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, and radiation therapy to the area in question have been shown to lower the success rate of implant placement. Dental x-rays of your jaw will be taken to evaluate whether they will accommodate implants. Detailed x-rays may also be required to determine if other tests or procedures are needed to place implants properly.
A fixed bridge is a connected set of replacement teeth. For support, it is cemented into position on top of the teeth adjacent to the empty space. The protective outer layer of these teeth is usually removed or ground down prior to attaching the bridge.
A fragile, temporary and inexpensive solution is a removable plastic tooth with a plastic retainer, often called a “flipper”.
A less fragile option is a removable partial denture cast in metal and plastic. It is held in place by wire clips. A removable partial denture can be removed and reinserted when required by the patient.
The most common solution, for people missing all teeth in one or both jaws are complete dentures. Some people adapt well to dentures. Others find them uncomfortable, even intolerable, because of differences in jaw size and shape.
Dental implants are the most comfortable and permanent solution. They form a strong foundation for teeth and keep the jaw healthy and strong. Implants support individual replacement teeth or secure specialized dentures in place. Unlike bridges, no healthy teeth are damaged. Unlike most bridges, implants can last a lifetime. Implant-supported replacement teeth can be attractive, stable, and comfortable for almost any patient.
Why Select Dental Implants Over More Traditional Types Of Restorations?
Each type of dental prosthesis has its advantages and disadvantages. There are several reasons why an implant supported prosthesis may be a good choice for you: a tooth-supported bridge can sacrifice the structure of surrounding good teeth to bridge the space of the missing tooth/teeth. In addition, removing full or partial dentures at night or for cleaning may be inconvenient or embarrassing. Ill-fitting removable dentures can be unstable and slip or uncomfortable.